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Research Paper on Social Security

An excellent topic for a government research paper is one on the viability and sustainability of the social security program. You will want to look at the history and the future problems, along with alternatives for the future, especially the personal savings accounts that somewhat mirror the federal employee {TSP} Thrift Savings Plan {401K} they allow options for conservative bond funds and stock index funds like the SP-500.

The Problems Regarding the Social Security System

Social Security Don't Count On It

A rancorous debate is currently in progress with respect to the Social Security system. While most of those who are involved in the business of policy-making  agree that something must be done to fix a system which is heading towards insolvency, there is a great deal of divergence of opinion respecting the degree of urgency which attaches to the problem and the nature of the solution to that problem. The Bush administration has argued that enabling younger workers to set up private accounts with part of the taxes that they pay into the system, accounts which they would “own” and invest in the financial markets, has attracted a great deal of controversy. A suggested topic on social security may want to argue that this attempt on the part of the administration to bring about what would be, in essence, a partial privatization of the system is counter-productive and that any real and effective “fix” must involve two major components:

  1. A moving forward of the age at which people become eligible to receive social security
  2. Increased taxes.

In your research paper on social security, you may want to take the stance that the much-talked about private account idea is, essentially, a side-show, something which would not fix what ails social security, and something which an administration that is in denial about the necessity to raise taxes, is promoting as part of a political agenda that is based on a long-standing antipathy to New Deal programs.

James Glassman of the American Enterprise Institute has summarized the conservative position on social security. It is, he says, social security is a terrible system for three reasons:

  1. Social Security is “a blight on liberty” because it mandates that workers pay into the system to provide benefits for retirees;
  2. Social Security discourages savings because it encourages people to believe that the government will take care of them in their old age;
  3. Social Security is something akin to a Ponzi scheme because it is not a pay-as-you-go system, but rather, one in which those currently working provide the funds for those who no longer work.

In practical terms, he also states, social security taxes represent a terrible investment. He claims that a person born in the last 30 years will realize a return of 1.5% annual return on the money he/she pays into the system as compared to 5% that a person would realize by investing in a portfolio comprised half of stocks and half of bonds. Mr. Glassman does not provide any documentation for his claims. The solution for these problems, Mr. Glassman believes, is diverting social security taxes into private accounts.

In your research paper, you may express doubt of Mr. Glassman’s figures, but even if we do not, a few matters of real politik vitiate this approach to fixing social security. The idea has not been well-received by the public. Quite, simply, no such proposal is going to pass unless it is scaled down and made into a “pilot program” that would be limited in scope. Even long-term supporters of privatization, such as Senator Lindsey Graham (Rep. South Carolina), believe that the administration has been mistaken in placing emphasis on this “solution” to the system’s problems. Graham takes the position that the administration should have first focused on substantive steps to fix the funding problem and only then have introduced the idea of personal accounts. By, in effect, putting the cart before the horse, the administration has suggested that this “solution” effectively deals with the problem. But, Graham argues, while it may be part of a solution, it does not deal with the funding problem and this is something of paramount importance in fixing the system.

And, in truth, the private accounts idea does not solve the funding problem. The money that would go into private accounts would come from the same source—payroll taxes—as money being gathered under the old system and that money is insufficient to meet future needs. Moreover, as Lauricella has pointed out, setting up the private account system would involve some very expensive and complicated logistical problems. The administration has been forthright and courageous in identifying the looming funding problems of social security, but it has not been so with respect to its point of emphasis regarding a real and legitimate solution to those problems. That solution is to guarantee solvency by acknowledging that people are capable of working longer than they used to—a route already taken, the retirement age even now in the process of being raised to 67—and to realize that raising the payroll tax is the only viable way to ensure that the system will remain solvent. The administration must overcome its anti-tax bias and do the right thing.


Social Security Government Research Paper

  1. PAPER
    It is recommended that the document be typed or word-processed on bright white 24-lb. Bond paper or heavier.
  2. FONT/TYPEFACE
    Word-processing is recommended.
  3. SPACING
    The body of the project report must be double-spaced.
  4. MARGINS AND INDENTATIONS
    Margins should be standard 1 inch on all sides. Text should be typed in block style (flush to the left side with spaces between paragraphs) or with standard indentations (partial block style) to indicate the beginning of a new paragraph.
  5. PAGINATION
    Pages should be numbered, including bibliography and appendices, with numerals only. Pages preceding text of report (not including Title Page) should be numbered in small Roman numerals.
  6. HEADINGS
    Refer to the APA manual for rules regarding uniform headings that internally divide chapters.
  7. PROOFREADING
    The student is solely responsible for the appearance, form, and content of the project report. If the student contracts someone to type the paper for him or her, it is the student's responsibility to proofread their work.

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